where the writers are
Pablo Neruda's Love Sonnet 40: A Translation

40
Era verde el silencio, mojada era la luz,
temblaba el mes de Junio como una mariposa
y en el austral dominio, desde el mar y las piedras,
Matilde, atravesaste el mediodía.

Ibas cargada de flores ferruginosas,
algas que el viento sur atormenta y olvida,
aún blancas, agrietadas por la sal devorante,
tus manos levantaban las espigas de arena.

Amo tus dones puros, tu piel de piedra intacta,
tus uñas ofrecidas en el sol de tus dedos,
tu boca derramada por toda la alegría,

pero, para mi casa vecina del abismo,
dame el atormentado sistema del silencio,
el pabellón del mar olvidado en la arena.

40
Green was the silence, wet the light,
and the month of June quivered like a butterfly,
while in the southern dominions, from the sea and stones,
Matilde, you passed on through midday.

You went weighed down with iron-like flowers,
seaweeds that the southern wind torments and then forgets.
So white themselves, parched by the devouring salt,
your hands lifted up the sandy stalks.

I love your pure gifts . . . your skin intact as stone,
your nails offered by the sun of each finger,
your mouth spilling over with every happiness.

But for my house . . . the abyss's neighbor . . .
grant to me silence's tormented system,
the pavilion of the sea forgotten in the sand.

Translation: Terence Clarke